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New Jay-Jís law protects children from abuse

BUFFALO ó Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation enacting Jay-Jís Law, which allows for tougher penalties against offenders who have been convicted of repeatedly abusing a child.

ďAssaulting a child is a heinous crime that must be met with the strictest of punishments,Ē Cuomo said. ďBy enacting Jay-Jís Law, we are taking a step forward in safeguarding children across New York state, and immediately ensuring that repeat offenders are met with heightened penalties that match the seriousness of their actions.Ē

The new law increases the look-back period, to elevate penalties for assault on a child younger than 11 years old. That period, which was three years, will now be 10 years.

Intentionally causing physical injuries to a child younger than 11 is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail. This charge could be elevated to an E felony of aggravated assault upon a person less than 11 years old, if the abuser had a prior conviction for the same crime. That charge carries a maximum four-year prison sentence.

Jay-Jís Law is named after Jay-J Bolvin, who was severely beaten by his father in 2011, leaving him with 11 fractured bones and epilepsy. Jay-Jís father had been convicted of third-degree assault in 2007, for beating another of his sons and breaking his arm.

For the assault on Jay-J., his father was allowed to plead guilty to misdemeanor assault, because the prior conviction was not an enhancing factor, since it occurred outside of the three year look-back period.

Kevin Retzer, who is Jay-Jís uncle and lobbied for the lawís passage, said, ďJay-Jís Law is a common-sense bill to make sure violent abusers are punished for hurting children. It wonít change the suffering Jay-J went through Ė or the struggles he faces now Ė but Jay-Jís law will help protect other children, across New York state. Weíre thrilled that Gov. Cuomo has signed the bill into law and we want to thank him for all his efforts to keep children safe.Ē

The law takes effect immediately.

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